What is the formal form of etc. or "...and the like" ?

I'm contacting a professor I'd like to mention what fields I'm interested in, the sentence is " ...I'm interested in data structure, math, and algorithms and so on ". I know "so on" is not nice here, so how can I change it to formal form to be suitable for contacting a professor?!

  • 2
    "I'm interested in areas such as data structure, math, and algorithms." Jul 2, 2017 at 18:59
  • 1
    "and so on" is not nice? Jul 2, 2017 at 23:47
  • @EdwinAshworth I suggest you expand this into an answer. English is not dependent on a single word for tone but rather sentence structure, and your example demonstrates it, but doesn't explain it, I think
    – psosuna
    Aug 1, 2017 at 21:21
  • @prosuna I've never done a reasonable (never mind deep) study on why some paraphrases are in a far more formal register than others, and so feel unqualified to give an answer which includes an explanation. But if you keep reading reasonably widely for 60+ years and have reasonable critical faculties, you get a feel for the what if not the why. Aug 1, 2017 at 21:33
  • @Edwin Ashworth What I like about your "such as" is that it implies fields that are related to the examples mentioned whereas "and so on" and "etc." are unlimited and therefore either vague or overly ambitious Oct 1, 2017 at 1:54

1 Answer 1


'Etc.' is quite formal, although you could expand it to 'et cetera' if you wanted. It can also be stylised '&c.' which I have only seen in a formal context.

Other alternatives would be 'et. al.' which means and others, also expandable to 'et alia'; or 'and so forth' which is more similar to 'etc.' in meaning.

You may find this interesting: https://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/31330/should-you-always-use-appropriate-letter-conventions-when-emailing-a-teacher

Source: You Dictionary

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